Gun Laws Too Strict, Say Gun Owners

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Some gun owners said Grand Rapids has gun ordinances that are too strict and that the ordinances don’t comply with state law.

In Grand Rapids, it’s illegal to openly carry a gun. It must be concealed. However, state law says it’s ok.

Gun owners are expected to show up to Tuesday night’s city commission meeting to bring up the issue. “I carry a gun. I have my concealed pistol license. I carry all the time,” Sandi Beahan, a Kent County resident said.

Beahan said she carries a gun to protect herself and others. On one hip she carries her pistol; on the other she carries two clips.

It’s a decision made by her life experience.

“I’ve been a victim,” Beahan said. “I’ve been raped, I’ve been beaten and had bones broken and I even had twins beaten out of me. I’ll never be a victim again. I refuse to be anybody’s victim.”

As a member of Michigan Open Carry she says she wants to be able to openly carry her gun in Grand Rapids. However, a law on the books prohibits that.

In contrast, state law says it’s ok to carry guns openly in Michigan.

“I have no interest, nor have I heard interests coming from the commission to make any changes in the city ordinance with respect to, with respect to open carry,” Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell said.

“The advocates argue that our local ordinances violate the ordinances of the state. That may be the case, but we’re not prepared to make changes,” Heartwell said.

Commissioner Ruth Kelly said, “In light of what happened in Connecticut, I think we have to have a broader public discussion of where it’s appropriate to have a gun and what type of gun.”

Kelly said she’s opposed to residents being able to attend public meetings with guns in the open.

The mayor says he’s formed a coalition to address the issue of gun control in the city. Beahan and other advocates say that’s a different conversation.

“All we’re asking is for the city to come into compliance and alignment with the state law,” Beahan said.

It’s not on the agenda for Tuesday night’s city commission meeting. However, gun owners are expected to show up and bring the issue up during public comment.

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  • Shadow Bear

    The mayor of Grand Rapids, the highest elected official, has 'no interest' in following state law. Sad commentary, and a real poor example for the children of Grand Rapids. This is what they have to look up to?

  • scot623

    "The mayor says he’s formed a coalition to address the issue of gun control in the city."

    It takes a "coalition" to discuss how to enforce current state law?? Because, newsflash Mayor…you and your city have no legal authority to enforce gun control beyond the laws already written.

    • Shadow Bear

      Typical politician, using the blood of innocents to feed his ego and personal prejudices. He hates to admit that he can't keep people safe in Grand Rapids. So many failures, so many lives lost, and he wants to argue semantics…..

      Come on, Mayor, take some REAL action against crime! Enough talk, time to act.

  • Citizen Guy

    It's not that they're too strict. The city of Grand Rapids is in VIOLATION OF STATE LAW. Come on WXMI, you're better than this.

  • Shadow Bear

    By the way- Way to go, Sandi! Great job on the interview. Thank you for providing, not only the woman's view, but the view of someone who has been victimized. We're all proud of you!

  • Guest

    This article was written AFTER the city meeting. I was there. But the last sentence in the article more than infers it was written PRIOR to. "It’s not on the agenda for Tuesday night’s city commission meeting. However, gun owners are expected to show up and bring the issue up during public comment".

    What a hoax! This is written so misleading. All of the information this report contains took place DURING tonight's meeting. Great Journalism.

  • Mark F.

    What people in elected positions need to realize is that people legally carrying guns are not the ones causing problems! I challenge anyone to find a circumstance where someone LEGALLY carrying a firearm has "flown off the handle" and shot someone just because. Are that worried that if they say something the person with the gun is going to shoot them? Absolutely not. What Grand Rapids is saying is that you can have your guns, but we don't want to see them. A gun in the open is a giant stop sign to a bad guy thinking of doing something stupid.

  • Eric

    Listen, we don't have to listen to the city law reguarding open carry because it's in direct violation of the sate law. If u get harassed by a cop, peacefully get arrested, then sue the city because they won't win and you'll make a big step in our cause, getting the city to comply. Don't want the hassle of being arrested? Then get the name and badge and inform him that when u go to court! You'll be naming him as an acomplice to violating the state law. Besides…no one is getting arrested…if their in the courtroom open carrying then u sure as sh#% can carry on the streets!!

  • Bernie

    Quote: "In Grand Rapids, it’s illegal to openly carry a gun."

    That is a false statement. Typical enough, however, of the liberal arts graduates that come out of journalism schools.

  • msglaigaie

    Seattles mayor magrimm tried this(and about to try it again) and the Second Amendment Foundation sued the city. State said "We preempt your law, bud. " and the ordinance was squashed. If he is breaking the law, ask to come into compliance, if not SUE. You will win.

  • Kzoo Tom

    The big question is are these people who want to restrict guns (freedom) willing to accept the fact that THEY will be responsible for MORE gun deaths?

  • responsible man

    Thank you Sandi Beahan for being a responsible gun owner. I agree, You will never be a victim again and I commend you. Thank you as well to FOX 17 for presenting an informational article. This should be "shared" by all who can do so.

  • James Williams

    Recall any public official who agrees with this NAZI mindset. We have rights, and they should know this. What next? Maybe the city will imprison Jews, or restrict the right to free speech? Nothing is more disgusting than a NAZI mentality in power in a so called Free country. Perhaps the city will enact a Grand Rapids Jim Crow law of their liking? With this mentality nothing is beyond the realm of possibility here, and I am far from a gun rights advocate, I fear once this gets ignored, we will see all kinds of citizens on the target list. This is exactly the same way Hitler was able to grab power in Germany, he ignored laws, and made up his own mind on ways to deal with those he didn’t like. Well Open carry people, you have become the persecuted Jews of today’s Grand Rapids.
    .Maybe they should ban criminal behavior, now that won’t violate rights or state law, and won’t victimize those who hold this society together. It is a GOD given right to self defense, not a privilege.

  • Nate

    It is absolutely wrong that a mayor would violate state law by allowing a law to stay in the books, when the law is actually illegal under state law. Heartwell show be removed from office if he thinks he is better then that law.

  • Joe

    Sounds like Grand Rapids is turning into a dictatorship……..I lived south of Kentwood for 30 years and loved GR, but as a conceal permit holder I've made a choice not to spend any money in the city. Glad I moved to the lakeshore.

  • james

    The mayor of Grand Rapids, the highest elected official, has 'no interest' in following state law. Sad commentary, and a real poor example for the children of Grand Rapids.